In the wrong job

We have bought Mrs Saul a new car, more on which later.
Things don’t seem to have changed much since I was last buying a car almost exactly five years ago – noone really seems to want to make an effort to sell you one.
In March 2003 I remember standing in the showroom of yet another large dealer here and shouting ‘does anyone want to sell me a car?’. My patience had finally ran out after several hours of being studiously ignored wherever I went. I didn’t get much of a response. Five years on the situation seems pretty much the same.
In the UK, any customer appearing on the forecourt will quickly be approached by a nice bloke in a suit from Next and sporting an an oversized tie knot. He will do everything he can to sell you something. He’ll know about the car you’re interested in, offer you finance, help you get a test drive, make you a cup of tea and generally do his best to close a deal.
Here, the average salesmanship seems to amount to not much more than the following –
Me: Can you tell me the difference between these three models?
Car ‘Sales’man: This one hundred ten thousand, this one hundred thousand this one ninety thousand.
Me: And what’s the difference between these three models?
Car ‘Sales’man: This one hundred ten thousand, this one hundred thousand this one ninety thousand.
Me: Thanks, I’ve got that part. What’s the difference between these three models?
CS: If you want, pay deposit and we deliver in three months.
The same goes for the secondhand places I visited (with 4×4 Motors being the helpful exception to the rule, at least when I was there in the past – we didn’t visit this time around). In general the guys on the forecourt dusting down the cars know the price and mileage and that’s it. The owner/manager just sits inside smoking, challenging you to separate him from his phone and attempt to find out more.
Some of the secondhand places we visited had brand new models on the forecourt. Why buy from them? Because they had models in stock they had pre-ordered from the dealer, which the dealer can’t get you for three months. So, if you want a fairly standard new car, these guys have it, now.
I took a lovely 4×4 for a test drive from the main dealer. Afterwards, the salesman asked me if I’d enjoyed the drive. I replied that I had, that this was my first ever chance to buy a new car and was interested in rechecking the prices of what was on offer to see what was right for me. He shrugged, told me he’d already told me the prices and said I should call him if I wanted to buy. No effort to sell at all, work out what was right for me, surprisingly.
All of this suggests it’s very much a sellers’ market. Dubai is clearly growing, people need cars and can afford them and those selling them don’t need to bust a gut to shift their stock.
There’s huge choice here, a huge potential market and prices are better than what you’ll get in Europe – I am clearly working in the wrong industry.


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